Your first microservice in .NET

So, let’s start developing microservices using the Pip.Services toolkit. As a simple example, we will make a Hello World microservice, which will greet you in response to your request. The communication protocol will be HTTP REST.

The microservice is structurally made up of these components:

  • The controller, which generates responses to requests
  • A REST service for the transmission of responses and requests
  • The component factory for the dynamic creation of components
  • A container process, which will be filled with the necessary components, based on yml configuration.

Step 1. Project setup

Create a folder for the project, open it in Visual Studio Code and run the command:

dotnet new console

This command will automatically create two files: HelloWorld.csproj and Program.cs. Open the HelloWorld.csproj file and add the necessary dependencies to it.


<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">  
    <PackageReference Include="PipServices3.Commons" Version="3.1.0" />    
    <PackageReference Include="PipServices3.Components" Version="3.1.0" />    
    <PackageReference Include="PipServices3.Container" Version="3.1.0" />    
    <PackageReference Include="PipServices3.Data" Version="3.1.0" />    
    <PackageReference Include="PipServices3.Rpc" Version="3.3.0" />  

In the command line, type out the command below to install the dependencies:

dotnet restore

Step 2. Controller

The controller will be a simple class that implements a single business method, which receives a name and generates a greeting. In general, business methods can call other built-in services or work with a database. Since their execution time might take too long, business methods are implemented in .NET as asynchronous functions:

public async Task<string> GreetingAsync(string name){    
  return await Task.FromResult($"Hello {name ?? _defaultName}!");

To demonstrate the dynamic configuration of a component, the recipient name will be specified by the parameter “_default_name”. To get the configuration, the component must implement the interface “IConfigurable” with the method “configure”.

public void Configure(ConfigParams config){
    _defaultName = config.GetAsStringWithDefault("default_name", null);

Now, parameters that are read by the microservice from the configuration file will be passed to the “Configure” method of the corresponding component. Here’s an example of a configuration:

# Controller
- descriptor: "hello-world:controller:default:default:1.0"
  default_name: "World"

More details on this mechanism can be found in The Configuration recipe.

This is all the code of the controller in the file:


using System.Threading.Tasks;using PipServices3.Commons.Config; 
namespace HelloWorld {    
    public class HelloWorldController : IConfigurable {        
        private string _defaultName = null; 

        public void Configure(ConfigParams config) {            
            _defaultName = config.GetAsStringWithDefault("default_name", null);        

        public async Task<string> GreetingAsync(string name) {            
            return await Task.FromResult($"Hello {name ?? _defaultName}!");        

Step 3. REST service

One of the most popular ways of transferring data between microservices is using the synchronous HTTP REST protocol. The HelloWorldRestService will be used to implement an external REST interface. This component extends the abstract RestService of the Pip.Services toolkit, which implements all the necessary functionality for processing REST HTTP requests.

public class HelloWorldRestService : RestService

Next, we’ll need to register the REST operations that we’ll be using in the class’s register method. In this microservice, we’ll only be needing to implement a single GET command: “/greeting”. This command receives a “name” parameter, calls the controller’s “greeting” method, and returns the generated result to the client.

public override void Register(){    
    RegisterRoute("GET", "/greeting", async (request, response, routeData) => {        
        string name = null;        
        if (request.Query.TryGetValue("name", out StringValues values)) {            
            name = values.FirstOrDefault();        
        await SendResultAsync(response, await _controller.GreetingAsync(name));    

To get a reference to the controller, we’ll add its descriptor to the “_dependencyResolver” with a name of “controller”.

public HelloWorldRestService(){    
    _baseRoute = "hello_world";    
    _dependencyResolver.Put("controller", new Descriptor("hello-world", "controller", "default", "*", "1.0"));

Using this descriptor, the base class will be able to find a reference to the controller during component linking. Check out The Locator Pattern for more on how this mechanism works.

We also need to set a base route in the service’s constructor using the _baseRoute property. As a result, the microservice’s full REST request will look something like:

GET /hello_world/greeting?name=John

Full listing for the REST service found in the file:


using Microsoft.Extensions.Primitives;
using PipServices3.Commons.Refer;
using PipServices3.Rpc.Services;
using System.Linq; 
namespace HelloWorld {    
    public class HelloWorldRestService : RestService {        
        private HelloWorldController _controller;   

        public HelloWorldRestService() {            
            _baseRoute = "hello_world";            
            _dependencyResolver.Put("controller", new Descriptor("hello-world", "controller", "default", "*", "1.0"));        

        public override void SetReferences(IReferences references) {            
            _controller = _dependencyResolver.GetOneRequired<HelloWorldController>("controller");        

        public override void Register() {            
            RegisterRoute("GET", "/greeting", async (request, response, routeData) => {                
                string name = null;                
                if (request.Query.TryGetValue("name", out StringValues values)) {                    
                  name = values.FirstOrDefault();                
              await SendResultAsync(response, await _controller.GreetingAsync(name));

Step 4. Сomponent factory

When a microservice is being populated by components based on the configuration being used, it requires a special factory to create components in accordance with their descriptors. The HelloWorldServiceFactory class is used for just that, as it extends the Factory class of the Pip.Services toolkit.

public class HelloWorldServiceFactory : Factory

The factory’s constructor is used to register descriptors and their corresponding component types.

public HelloWorldServiceFactory(){    
    RegisterAsType(ControllerDescriptor, typeof(HelloWorldController));    
    RegisterAsType(HttpServiceDescriptor, typeof(HelloWorldRestService));

For more info on how this works, be sure to check out The Container recipe.

Full listing of the factory’s code found in the file:


using PipServices3.Commons.Refer;
using PipServices3.Components.Build; 

namespace HelloWorld {    

    public class HelloWorldServiceFactory : Factory {  

        public static Descriptor Descriptor = new Descriptor("hello-world", "factory", "service", "default", "1.0");        
        public static Descriptor ControllerDescriptor = new Descriptor("hello-world", "controller", "default", "*", "1.0");        
        public static Descriptor RestServiceDescriptor = new Descriptor("hello-world", "service", "http", "*", "1.0");         
        public HelloWorldServiceFactory(){            
            RegisterAsType(ControllerDescriptor, typeof(HelloWorldController));            
            RegisterAsType(RestServiceDescriptor, typeof(HelloWorldRestService));        

Step 5. Container

Last but not least, our microservice needs a container component. This component creates all of the other components, links them with one another, and controls their life cycle. Although there exist many different ways of running a microservice in a container (regular classes, serverless functions, serlets, etc), we’ll be running our example microservice as a system process. To do this, we’ll make the HelloWorldProcess extend the ProcessContainer class of the Pip.Services toolkit.

Although containers can be populated by components manually, we’ll be using dynamic configuration to do this. By default, ProcessContainer reads the configuration from an external config.yml file. All we have left to do is register the factory for creating components from their descriptors.

Full listing of the container’s code found in the file:


using PipServices3.Container;
using PipServices3.Rpc.Build; 

namespace HelloWorld {

    public class HelloWorldProcess : ProcessContainer {    

        public HelloWorldProcess(): base("hello_world", "Hello world microservice") {            
            _configPath = "config.yml";             
            _factories.Add(new DefaultRpcFactory());            
            _factories.Add(new HelloWorldServiceFactory());        


The dynamic configuration is defined in the file:


# Container context
- descriptor: "pip-services:context-info:default:default:1.0" 
  name: "hello-world" 
  description: "HelloWorld microservice" 

# Console logger
- descriptor: "pip-services:logger:console:default:1.0" 
  level: "trace" 

# Performance counter that post values to log
- descriptor: "pip-services:counters:log:default:1.0" 
# Controller
- descriptor: "hello-world:controller:default:default:1.0" 
  default_name: "World" 
# Shared HTTP Endpoint
- descriptor: "pip-services:endpoint:http:default:1.0" 
    protocol: http 
    port: 8080 

# HTTP Service V1
- descriptor: "hello-world:service:http:default:1.0" 

# Heartbeat service
- descriptor: "pip-services:heartbeat-service:http:default:1.0" 

# Status service
- descriptor: "pip-services:status-service:http:default:1.0"

Looking at the configuration file, we can conclude that the following components will be created in the microservice:

  • ContextInfo - standard Pip.Services component for determining the name and description of a microservice.
  • ConsoleLogger - standard Pip.Services component for writing logs to stdout,
  • LogCounters - standard Pip.Services component for logging performance counters.
  • HelloWorldController - the controller of our microservice, implemented in step 2. Make note of the controller’s descriptor, as it will be used to link the controller class to the REST service.
  • HttpEndpoint - standard Pip.Services component that allows multiple services to use a single HTTP port simultaneously.
  • HelloWorldRestServices - the REST service we implemented on step 3.
  • HeartbeatHttpService - standard Pip.Services component that is used to check whether or not a microservice is still up and running by calling GET /heartbeat.
  • StatusHttpService - standard Pip.Services component for getting the status of a microservice by calling GET /status.

As you may have noticed, more than half of the components are being taken from Pip.Services and used “right out of the box”. This significantly expands our microservice’s capabilities, with minimal effort on our part.

Step 6. Run and test the microservice

In .NET, we’ll need a special file to run the microservice. All this file does is creates a container instance and runs it with the parameters provided from the command line.


namespace HelloWorld { 

    class Program { 

        static void Main(string[] args) {   

            var process = new HelloWorldProcess();            


When a microservice starts up, the following sequence of events takes place:

  1. A container is created and started;

  2. The container reads the configuration found in config.yml;

  3. Using the factory, the container creates the necessary components in accordance with their descriptors (see The Container recipe);

  4. The components are configured. During this step, all components that implement the IConfigurable interface have their configure methods called with the configuration defined in config.yml passed as a parameter (see The Configuration recipe);

  5. Components are linked. All components that implement the IReferenceable interface get their setReferences methods called with a list of components available in the container. With the help of descriptors, objects can find all necessary dependencies (see [The References recipe]);

  6. Components with active processes are run. A component is considered to contain active processes if it implements the IOpenable interface and has an open method defined (see The Component Lifecycle recipe).

When the microservice receives a signal to stop the process, the reverse sequence takes place:

  1. Components with active processes are closed - classes implementing the IClosable interface get their close methods called; Components are unlinked. All components that implement the IUnreferenceable interface have their unsetReferences methods called;
  2. The components previously created in the container are destroyed;
  3. The container is stopped.

To start the microservice, run the following command from a terminal:

dotnet run

If the microservice started up successfully, you should see the following result in the terminal:

[echo:INFO:2018-09-25T15:15:30.284Z] Press Control-C to stop the microservice...
[echo:DEBUG:2018-09-25T15:15:30.542Z] Opened REST service at
[echo:INFO:2018-09-25T15:15:30.542Z] Container hello-world started.

Test the microservice by requesting the following URL in a browser:


If all’s well, you should get the following string as a result:

Hello, John!

All source codes are available on GitHub.

To learn even more about Pip.Services, consider creating a Data Microservice as your next step!